Debrief: Mumbai Police: Weak & Ineffective

28 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

Well, safety of women is now favourite dinnertime conversation; it was a matter of time before a public service campaign went on air. The Mumbai Police has come up with one, and there are quite a few commercials. However, it’s a classic case of noble intention let down by dull communication.

 

The ads feature policemen talking directly into camera. They first address women, reassuring them that their complaints will be taken seriously. Later, in the same capsule, they address us deviant men, urging us to respect women. This simplicity and honesty sounds perfect on paper, but live action needs a lot more. There are many problems with this approach.

 

For one, because each ad has been broken into two segments, as a viewer, I mentally switch off as soon as the second section starts, assuming that the same message is running in a loop. This is because the policemen, the camera angle, the set up… it’s the same for both segments. They needed to take care of this inevitability. Two, I don’t know if these guys are real cops, they look like small-time TV actors. Their names appear as supers, but this gets missed very easily. The fact that these are real cops ought to have been highlighted powerfully, credibility of the communication solely rides on that. And lastly, the treatment is ineffective because the creative is weak. As a citizen, I know this is not how cops deal with me in the police station, that all this nicety is only for the camera. Forget policemen, even the traffic cops are petty rude (ask the angry MLAs!). Which is why they needed a stronger approach, something that would make us sit up and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know the police is nice with women complainants!’. Perhaps they should have played out real experiences of women at police stations. As for the ‘stern’ warning to the goons, it’s so thanda, I can see them going ‘LOL’.

 

Rating: (On a scale of 1-5): 1. Tch, tch. A good opportunity wasted.

 

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